TUNIS (Reuters) - The party of Tunisia's president condemned on Thursday the Egyptian military's overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi as a blow to democracy, in the first public reaction to events in Cairo from the cradle of the 'Arab Spring' movement.
The head of Egypt's Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, was sworn in as interim head of state of the Arab world's most populous nation earlier on Thursday, a day after the Islamist president's dramatic removal from power.
"The party condemns the military coup against the democratic process," said Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki's secularist party, the Congress for the Republic, in a statement.
"We view what the leadership of the army has done as a setback on the path of the Egyptian revolution and an attempt to reinstall the old regime," it said.
The divide between secularists and Islamists in Tunisia has widened since the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali more than two years ago triggered a wave of uprisings around the Arab world including Egypt.
But although the role of Islam has grown in Tunisian society since then and has been enshrined in a new constitution, the divisions are seen as less severe than in Egypt.
"A military coup sends a dangerous message to the Arab peoples, it hampers the democratic transition and sows despair among the peoples of the region," Marzouki's party said.
Tunisia's Islamist led-government and ruling moderate Islamist Ennahda Party have not commented on the events in Egypt.
Prime Minister Ali Larayedh, a senior leader of Ennahda, said earlier this week that a situation like that unfolding in Egypt could not take place in Tunisia because his government ruled "by consensus and partnership".
(Reporting By Tarek Amara, Editing by Gareth Jones)